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Patience Is a Virtue?


Buh-bye Sam … and this season’s playoff hopes.

The lives of doctors, supermarket checkout clerks and DMV employees became a little easier over the weekend when Philadelphia sports fans gave a resounding vote of approval to the trade that sent Sam Bradford to Minnesota. As the QB becomes accustomed to the state where people are “nice” but not necessarily “friendly” and the pike lurking beneath the icy lake waters are big and tasty, folks around here have let the world know that waiting is no longer a problem.

Gone are the days when a single loss was reason for outrage. Philadelphia fans are now happy to withstand years of losing if someone tells them prosperity might be just around the corner.

We’ve already seen this condition in those who believe that three seasons with a total of 47 NBA wins are just fine and that enduring four years of rotten baseball is tolerable. That’s what it’s like around here these days: The potential for success means more than actual prosperity.

Before the Eagles traded Bradford, they actually had a chance to win the NFC East. Dallas is in trouble for at least half the season, thanks to Tony Romo’s injury. The Giants’ defense is still a big question, and nobody really believes Washington—and quarterback Kirk Cousins—can be good for two years straight. With Bradford under center and healthy, the Eagles would’ve been capable of making a run at the post-season. With rookie Carson Wentz as the starter, that becomes practically impossible.

But, hey, that’s OK in these parts, where historical impatience has been replaced by an ability to wait long periods to get what we want. In addition to making fans far more forgiving of front-office mistakes and on-field/court/ice incompetence, it should also create much less hostile situations at restaurants and highway on-ramps. Even though Eagles coach Doug Pederson said during his Monday press conference that “the expectation level doesn’t change” with Wentz at the helm, the comment he made later was far more telling: “We’ve got to look at the big picture and what we want to do.”

In other words, the two draft choices extracted from Minnesota for Bradford can help the Eagles put a good team around Wentz when—or if—he’s ready to be a top-shelf quarterback. That may be in two years, or perhaps three. It may also be never. But that doesn’t seem to matter anymore around here. Because it might happen, fans are willing to suffer through more mediocrity in search of a payoff.

It never used to be that way. Every season that ended without a championship was greeted with criticism and derision. Even when the Eagles were reaching the NFC title game, they were considered underachievers. Now, when six wins might be considered a tremendous accomplishment, fans are perfectly happy. All of a sudden, we’ve become St. Louis. Pretty soon, we’ll be letting people merge onto the Schuylkill without so much as a middle-finger salute.

Six wins is the high-water mark for this bunch now. Were Bradford here, there was a shot at eight, provided he didn’t break a rib clearing his throat. With a rookie who’s played just part of one pre-season game working behind a line that has questions at left tackle (Jason Peter’s injury history) and right tackle (Lane Johnson’s B sample), with no real wide-receiver weapons, and an untested ground game, an 8-8 record is folly. At least the three-and-outs will take longer than they did under Maximum Leader Chip Kelly.

Granted, Bradford is hardly a top-shelf QB, and shipping him to the Vikings might actually help us. The other day, El Hombre compadre Morocco Mole said Bradford could mess up enough to improve the draft pick Minnesota shipped to us. “It’s almost like we have a man on the inside,” MM said.

If Bradford plays the way he did the first half of last year, it won’t matter whether the Vikes have four Adrian Petersons on the roster. They won’t sniff the Packers. But at least Bradford’s a veteran whose portfolio includes more than just 24 pre-season passes.

The updated forecast for this season: 5-11. That’s not going to create too much excitement come November and December, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Philadelphia is now a patient city, with fans no longer worried about winning. You can almost hear the new mantra from miles away: Just wait until next year! Or the year after that!

EL HOMBRE SEZ: Penn State’s decision to honor Joe Paterno during the Nittany Lions’ Sept. 17 game against Temple is a slap in the face to the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s monstrous crimes. After all of the information that came out in the past months about what Paterno knew, it’s almost criminal for the school to look away so arrogantly from the people whose lives Sandusky ruined. It seems as if the school has learned absolutely nothing from this putrid chapter in its history.